Panel at the Press Club

By Tom Sleigh

She who had most trouble saying anything
at all, expressionless in her blue blazer
and white silk shirt and sipping her glass of water
and looking away, eyes far from everything,

she who knew firsthand, what was it she was thinking?
the others' earnest voices rang out eerily
somnambulant, equivocating over "enemy,"
tongues to a high gloss polishing

"freedom," "casualty," "most regrettably,"
"that's where the force comes in"but what was it
she was thinking—remembering, maybe,
how during the bombardment she sat

hunched in her apartment, watching water
tremble, slosh, ripple, smooth over,
until the next shock wave through I-beams
rises, fish darting into her aquarium's

corners, ornamental blue crests wavering,
striped gills fluttering, fins twitching
to explosions rolling through what
she called, betraying no emotion, "rocket streets"?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/11/panel-at-the-press-club/304335/